Date: 25.04.2019 Last updated: 25.04.2019 at 11.43Category: World ServiceThe BBC’s flagship World Service radio debate programme, World Questions, is in Ethiopia at a crucial time in the country’s history. The BBC’s Jonathan Dimbleby will be joined by a panel of leading Ethiopian politicians and thinkers in a debate, in English, led by questions from a public audience on May 6 at the Hilton Hotel in Addis Ababa.
Ethiopia’s Prime minister Abiy Ahmed has initiated a series of unprecedented reforms in his first year in office. He has made peace with Eritrea, freed 60,000 political prisoners, allowed previously banned opposition groups, and appointed women to half his cabinet.
He has pledged free elections in 2020 and made a prominent opposition activist head of the electoral commission. He now faces one of his biggest challenges: moving the economy from state-led to market-based growth while overseeing political reforms. If Abiy Ahmed is able to succeed, Ethiopia could cement its position as one of Africa’s biggest players.
Jonathan Dimbleby and a panel of leading politicians and thinkers will debate questions raised by the audience in Addis Ababa.
The panel will include:
- Mustafa Omer – President of the Somali region
- Professor Merera Gudina – Leader of the Oromo People’s Congress
- Tsedale Lemma – Editor of The Addis Standard
- Eskinder Nega – Journalist and Campaigner
Stephen Titherington, Senior Commissioning Editor, BBC World Service English, says: “This is a key moment for Ethiopia; a year into Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s changes we hear what an Ethiopian audience and Ethiopian politicians make of this new political and economic reality in what we anticipate will be an engaging and thought-provoking debate.”
Peter Brown, Director of the British Council in Ethiopia, says: “World Questions comes to Ethiopia at an exciting time for the country, and we look forward to a fascinating debate. By partnering with the BBC in this way, we are able to support our wider ambition of promoting cultural relations among people worldwide. Through projects like World Questions, we believe that connecting people both in Ethiopia and globally makes a powerful and lasting contribution to a more open and connected world.”
BBC World Questions is created in partnership with the British Council and will be recorded for radio broadcast worldwide.
BBC World Questions: Addis Ababa will air on BBC World Service English on Saturday 11 May at 2200-2300 EAT/1900-2000 GMT, and available online after that at www.bbc.com/worldserviceradio